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Charlie Rose

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Us 9, Jimmy Connors 7, Dennis 6, Roald Dahl 6, Matilda 5, Trunchbull 5, Bjorn 3, U.s. 3, Dahl 2, California 2, Wimbledon 2, Andre 2, Tim Minchin 2, Tonys 2, Agassi 2, Matthew Warchus 2, London 2, John Lennon 2, Illinois 2, Charlie 2,
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  PBS    Charlie Rose    News/Business.   
   (2013) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    May 15, 2013
    11:00 - 12:01am PDT  

snipe we begin this evening with a conversation about theater, a conversation about "matilda the musical" which is now on broadway and nominated for 12 tonys. joining me, actor bertty carvel, songwriter tim minchin, play wright dennis kelly and director matthew warchus. >> your technique as an actor is to seem to be spontaneous and you always want to get back to the moment in the rehearsal when you had the idea the first time and everybody sat forward in their chair. and so there are all these techniques that one uses to sort of trick yourself into thinking things freshly. and because the kids don'tave as much technique-- although they work incredibly hard and they're incredibly well trained
and they perform sort of dizzying choreography-- but in terms of their acting there's a sort of slightly -- like sometimes they'll kind of start twitching an eye or they're -- their attention will wander in a sort of wonderful way that gives them -- everybody watching you know that they're really there. >> rose: and from theater to tennis, a conversation with jimmy connors. >> giving up everything and the putting your whole life's blood into trying to be what you want to become and what happens along the way as you're trying to become that and detours that are put in your way that you can take and -- but, you know, trying to keep your mind on your business but trying to live a life at the same time. you know, a lot of things creep in and, you know, you think that tennis would be enough for me. and that i got my thrill from tennis. but i guess somewhere along the line it wasn't enough and i needed more and, you know, i fell into a few traps.
>> ros "matilda," theater, musicals and jimmy connors, tennis, and winning. next. captioning sponsored by rose communications
from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: it was 25 yearsing that roe wall daal wrote a children's novel with very adult themes. it was called xwhat tilda." in 2010 that well-loved story came to the theater, tild set records when its west end production won a total of seven olivier awards. it opens odd broadway and is contending 123r tonys. >> what about rules, honey. rules? >> i believe that malda wormwoods an exception to the rules. >> an exception? to the rules? in my school? ♪
♪ ♪ ♪ we can have our cake and eat it too ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ >> rose: bertie carvel plays the villain miss trunchbull. tim minchin is a comedian and musical songwriter, dennis kelly is the playwright for "matilda" and director matthew warchus. it's got tremendous reviews on the west end where it won oliviers and here where it nominated for 12 tonys. how did all of this -- you're here sitting at this table. how did it come together? >> well, the royal smax spear company had acquired the rights to matilda and to some sort of theatrical production and as far
as i know they approached dennis first to start adapting the novel to stage and then as it got under way doing that he did a couple drafts and they offered it to matthew. so well before i was anywhere near it matthew was on board to think about the shape of it. then i was sort of the last bit, the last piece of the puzzle and i came on and threw everything into disarray and then we fought with each other for a couple years and here we are. >> rose: was it hard to fashion it? >> it was tricky. i mean, it's hard because the book is -- i mean, so much of it was very easy and so much was very difficult. what was easy is that daal gives you these rich characters. dahl. so a character like miss trunchbull, you can put her in any situation and she writes herself. but the structure of the book was very, very episod psychowe needed to sort of abandon all of that in a way. it works fantastic in the book when you're reading ate chapter
at a time. al two-hour drama we needed to abandon all that and start again with it. >> rose: someone said it's a musical for people not that interested in musicals. (laughter) >> well, i think in a sense that's where it came from. certainly starting with dennis. he claimed to have hated musicals. >> i wouldn't say hated it. that's a strong word. >> rose: >> not your background, is it? >> i was ignorant of musicals. i think musicals are amazing and i just think very often as performance it's incredible but, you know, i think what i learned through doing "matilda" and understanding musicals smr what i have a hatred so bad musicals. and as a performance, you know. >> rose: so somebody watching this now and says "who is matilda" what would you say? >> oh, she's an extraordinary child genius with horrible parents.
and she has a teacher -- >> rose: she meets a good teacher. >> but the thing is that we tried to get across is just this kind of love of -- which dahl does in the book as well. she loves book and what happens is that sort of love of books becomes bigger and bigger and bigger in her mind. she's very smart and it becomes telekinetic powers. so what we were interested in is writing something that was about creativity as well. so it's -- actual hi that sounds grand and boring. its's not really about creativity, it's kids defeating villains. >> and the healing power of imagination, i think, is one of the things i love about it. but also, i mean, apropos the earlier thg that you were saying is that matilda herself is a character who wouldn't like musicals so how do you fit her into a form.
so we had discussions about the first ever poster that would be used in the production and the suggestion was it would be a little girl in a spotlight and we had to point out she's an assuming hero. she's reluctant. she causes a revolution but not by leading at the front and she has a song called quiet whereas her outrageous bullying parent mother has a song called "loud" and so it is actually -- it was a long time before tim could find a song that any of us knew how to find a song for matilda to sing because the actual form of musical theater is slightly contradicting the character of her leading. >> and what musicals tend to do is demonstrative characters out of whatever characters you start with because by the very nature of the genre it doesn't matter how intellectual your cracter
they have to sing it and that can be tough. >> rose: the three of you before you cast, would you sit around and have a conversation of what this is? we can is had tons of these. >> with much worse language. (laughter) >> rose: and you can speak in short hand so it wouldn't be necessary to explain to someone like me. >> but we didn't know each other at all and we're all quite different people from very different places. dennis was writing very gritty adult plays and i'm a satirist and matthew's matthew and we had to fine each other and it was us three and my much-loved supervisor chris nightingale who worked with matthew and a lot and it was just the five of us for many, many hours talking broad theoretical stuff about what we wanted to make sgu we'd go what would she want to say and how would that be a musical? i'm not someone who writes -- i needed to know what it was
before i started writing anything so we did hours of mapping -- >> and i think it's also one of the things that's really in -- strong signature of this piece is how convention breaking or rule breaking it is so that the nature of our conversation is it would often be we would either know or i would be explaining would be the conventional thing for her to do would be to her sing this and i would say to dennis this bit is going sort of wonky here, we need to make sure the audience can go with us normally the story would go from here to here in a musical. and it was easy to list all of the things that would normally be right or wrong to do with the story. and as soon as you started to do them you lost roald dahl. >> but a good thing is you've always got the roald dahl to go back to and roald dahl is a kind of -- it's very strong and very
dirty and very grimy and all of those sorts of things. you can always go back to that. >> so you need miss trunchbull, though, don't you? >> absolutely. >> rose: you have to catch miss trunchbull. >> so that was -- at the point we were doing -- starting that-- and this is in the workshop stage, reading stage, years -- a year and a half, two years before the actual production and then the first two readings we did a woman played miss trunchbull and obviously she's female character and it seemed like a good idea so the -- but what is interesting is that -- (laughter) >> rose: we have a female character, let's get an actress! (laughter) >> but the character that roald dahl and dennis created really
was such a monster and one of the main khark wrist sick she's a olympic hammer thrower. and naturally throws children around by the hair. and also there's a photo of -- i think it was roald dahl's gardener, a woman who worked for him at one point who was dressed in sort of a leather tunic, very fierce looking and there was some suggestion that possibly she had been some of the -- source material for a character type that he was thinking of when he wrote trunchbull. and you look at that reference and you read it and it seems to be as big a journey for an actress to get to trunchbull as it would be for an actor to get to trunchbull, really. and so i opened up the -- the search. at one point we were looking for -- it was a great list of people who we were looking for. >> rose: because this is a great part. >> well, it's a phenomenal -- it's a vital part. bertie should talk about it. the crucial thing about it is
that it is the -- it's the real threat. it's the real monster. so although -- and bertie does a very fascinating thing with it. following on some -- what's written on the page is that it's able to be extreme and entertain but never comic. always threatening. and there's a hidden secret about trunchbull which is as dark as it can get very much. >> rose: so you knew who she is and you want to shape a sense of her. >> well, i prefer being a man, right? the trick i get to play -- actually any character you play is not youndthat when you're
playing somebody who looks like you and has characteristics system to yours but she's a different jender have 45 years older than i am. it's not much more of an imaginative leap. you just get more points doing it. so it's a role where people can see the acting you're doing, it's great. >> this particular version of a man playing a woman is closer to the sort of shakespeare approach or within shakespeare and the women dressed as men as well in the stories and that it's taken quite seriously. there is a drigs of -- there's a pantomime tradition, for example, in the u.k. of a man dressing as a woman and it being -- just milking that for all of the humor that there is.
sort of a mismatch. he's not a drag actor. >> rose: you said you were look for a great psychological actor. >> that's right. i remember dennis saying to me at early draft that he showed to lizzie dahl she said something about trunchbull >> yeah, yeah. i mean, i guess -- if u haven't seen it, this might ruin it but lissi said in an early version i think i got carried away where the character, was having fun with the character and she said "you u.s. where remember, she's a murderer." and that stayed with me. and even though -- this is roald dahl and it's kind of like kids get swung around and people get -- we have the world's biggest burp happens and she still has
to be very dangerous. >> it has to be life like even though it's larger than life. i think particularly because it's a musical and there's snobbery particularly in bri mu. people say "i don't like musicals. and i can't believe it, why do people burst into song?" which is in some ways there's nothing naturalistic about theater, any theater. there's a convention that people up there are who they say they are and you use your imagination to believe that those people are doing what they say they're doing. we know it's not true. and there's nothing less naturalistic about n my view about musical bus when you have these huge characters would be easy for people to come into them and say, oh, you know, the singing and the swinging people so one wants all the characters to be grounded in as much psychological truth as it would
be in an ibsen play or richard ii so that nobody can kind geoff to that very easy knee jerk response of thinking "don't believe this." >> rose: you said i think one time you try to create characters who are trying to do the right thing but fail. >> yeah, that's right. that's right. when i was saying that i was talking about my other plays which are kind of dark. there's a way -- i don't know if that's what we had in mind but i think as an actor portraying a character -- so i play this -- she's definitely the villain and she's a monster and she's a horrific person and she's evil. but you have to appreciate how this person has come to be that and you have to some extent fight in your character's corner and i think -- >> rose: fight in her corner? >> you have to -- i think we all probably -- even though we might hate ourselves for things we've
done in our lives we would also know what the defense would be everybody has some way of rationalizing theiactions. >> so when you're playing a character who does these despicable things you've got to know how do they feel about themselvess? do they hate themselves for doing those awful things? how would they defend themselves? there is a defense that miss trunchbull would make. she might not articulate it. she might not give it time but i think i know what in her experience led her to be the monster that she is. that's what makes her real. she's not just -- she's not cut from any different cloth than the rest of us, in other words. she's been dmur n you are which you ared into -- >> there's a reason the way she is the way she is. >> she's bad by nature but she's had a ruff time of her own and we've put that puzzle together to understand why it is that this woman who hates children and is despicable to them chooses to work with them. and that's -- that's a job.
>> rose: is this a play about language and about words? >> yeah, i guess it is. i could get really boring on this subject. i'm always aware that we talk about "matilda" because we're talking about it from the inside out. you're sitting with four people who could all write 50,000 words theses on t themes but actually it's just a very joyous experience to watch. it's a lot of fun. having said that, you know, dennis was very clear, dahl's original book has -- is typical sort of dahl sardonic it with through it. but basically it's about how books are redemption and dennis broadened that because talking about books on the stage is not as easy as talking about stories in a general sense and middle makes up these wonderful store rise. and that allowed me as a
lyricist that allowed me to indulge what is basically a fetish for playing with words, you know? ogden nash kind of shameless playfulness which comes out of dahl as well. i mean, dahl made up 60 words or something. there's a list of them. ridiculous wonderful freedom with words that he had and that in the way -- in rob howell's design, in my lyrics, in dennis' adaptation and in everything is actually the real feature of it. >> rose: dahl was an interesting guy. he was a pilot in world war ii. he did most of this after the war and wrote a whole bunch of children's books, didn't he? >> and also, you know, they are right on the edge of what have is -- what parents have considered acceptable for children. it's kind of borderline. >> rose: because he has a dark view of childhood? rough personl
life. and -- in lots of ways. and i think that what is -- whatever the details of his life and how he lived it, whatever the sort of miracle his output is how he could recycle empowering or enlightening or makes you feel strong or better for having read it. and it does a -- it does a good job that -- the way he's recycled the darkness of his life is -- into something that is life enhancing, i think. and that's really what i was saying with children anyway. and he does it without sanitizing. >> yes, he doesn't lie about how sharp the corners in the world are. he doesn't send anything away. and i think he sort of celebrates in a way and sometimes -- >> rose: the e >> the jagged corners of the
world and his world view is very dark and there's cruelty in it and he puts in the front of you there and i think children are fascinating by that because i think their experience of the world is complicated at a very young age. they kind of see straight away that the world is not easy to reconcile and kthnd of gropfato and he's sort of painting it as it is. >> rose: it's not like he -- i think the thing is it's not that he's particularly dark. he's honest. the world is quite horrific, actually, there's some -- there are terrible things happening. >> rose: all you have to do is look around. >> and he doesn't show half of what's going on. he doesn't try -- >> he doe't smooth things over. >> that's right. he's kind of just being -- he's just showing it as it is and kids can see this stuff. they know what you're lying to them and what he refuses to do, he refuses to lie. >> rose: how do you cast a young matilda? >> the ma mathildes, there are four of them and they kind of
cover each other. they each of them do two performances a week and stand by for another two performances. they're in the theater four nights a week. i did a lot of research and i was trying to work out first of all, in fact, the readings that we did we had an adult play matilda. a 20-year-old girl read it and -- because we didn't want to get into the whole idea of children at that point. no that we hadn't ruled out children being in it but we needed to do a reading with adults and so funny enough the words -- we got used to hearing the words spoken by an adult and they are very -- the speeches actually are no dumbed down for a child or made easier. they're quite sophisticated and the character is mature beyond their years and that makes absolute sense >> i remember the point in which we brought in a real child to play matilda in a reading and
it's interesting because immediately you don't get the technique, of course, of an adult and professional actor, you don't get the same kind of timing, for example, all these other virtues. but you get something else for free sort of solid gold emotion particularly in thetor whe she's being constantly shouted at by adults. (laughs) and verbally abused by her parents, by teachers. and there's something electrifying about a child being on the receiving end of this and standing up for herself. so i knew it was a question of finding a real child to play that. and then it became what's the smallest oldest kid i can find? what's the oldest did that can handle being able to basically lead a production, hardly ever leaves the stage, this girl. and so the smallest possible but as old as possible so she could stillbe the smallest physically vulnerable person.
>> rose: you said about child actors they're free and they have -- what they have is what adult actors are always striving to reignite. it is this wonderment and this freshness of an attitude about life. >> they're very spontaneous. i'm very moved. it's almost like a tightrope walk when you watch one of these girls start at president benning of the show, g all the way through the end of the show and i always think "is she going to forget her lines?" i'm always very moved by the apparent courage that they have. i don't think it's like them for that at all. i don't think it's -- they somehow just have natural authority and dig any tie. >> rose: are they guileless? >> well, they're certainly guileless and we do have a couple rules in the production that, you know, for example, they -- unlike children in stories usually, these children are not allowed to smile.
i think there's two moments where i let them smile so they have a very formidable serious face for of the performance. there are other little rules about that when they're thinking or listening to another character on stage they're not allowed to tilt their head on one side and listen because that makes them look too like little girls they just have to listen in an upright way. so we have these devices and these are just additions that come on. and what the other actors tell me on stage is how -- they don't know which matilda they'll meet until they get on stage and how fresh the children keep them. >>. >> the thing about trying to keep a spark alive what one strives to do -- your technique as an actor is to seem to be spontaneous and you always want to get back to the moment in the rehearsal when you had the idea the first time and everybody sat forward in their chair and so there are always these techniques that one uses to trick yourself into thinking things freshly and because the
kids don't have as much technique-- although they work incredibly hard and they're incredibly well trained and they perform dizzying choreography. but in terms of their acting there's a sort of slightly -- like sometimes they'll start twitching an eye or their attention will wander in a sort of wonderful way thatve them -- everybody watching you know that they're really there. they're really fully there and they're not at their job sort of doing something that's very well practiced and polished. >> rose: wow. thank you all for coming. back in a moment. stay with us. >> it's a place where you can go and look at art and buy it. it's pretty transparent. if it's on the wall, it's for sale.
we hold it randomly in may, it's a contemporary art gallery from all over the world. it's in london but we're very excited to bring this art here and this year it feels like we're here. and when you come and look at the paintings, you have to stand in the music room. the focus in consul which you will work, it might be sculptures, there's lots of different things. they're all art. maybe you can't afford to travel to see wk in oer places, they get to see work from 32 different countries that they'd never see any other way. >> you walk in here and you get
a huge amount of information. you can learn a lot of happening in contemporary art now they see in one day what they might have seen at 20 museums in a month. win of the project this is year was an o nooj a restaurant that was in soho in the 1970s. what we've done is we've created that restaurant in the art. we've got a lot of young artists if the art would would be interested, i never knew the cultural world and the social world would be so engaged in london as well. here i think we brought what we've done well, i think it's a different place, a different time but we've done incredibly well and it's so exciting to see children walking through, young people walking through, old people walking through. we're very thrilled.
>> rose: jimmy connors is here, he won eight grand slam careers. his fiery persona and signature ground strokes elevated the game's popularity during the 1980s. there were memorable rooifrys with bjorn borg and ivan lendl. at the age of 39 he riveted the tennis world with an improbable run to the semifinals of the u.s. open. now 60 rlect ins on his life on and off the court in a new back called "the outsideor." i'm pleased to have jimmy connors back that the table. welcome. >> nice to be back. good to see you. >> it's obvious why you call it "the outsider" but tell me. that's the way you felt about yourself? >> i think from the very beginning. my growing up and being from the illinois side and trying to play my tennis in missouri and trying to get some games that -- i wasn't a member of any cliques and any groups at that that time. anti-establishment and always
felt that i was better on my own and not joining was -- you know, that's a good thing if you're on your own but the minute you're not winning and being the best things happen in a hurry. but it was worth it. >> my impression is that you have resisted writing a memoir and once you did you went all in. >> i did. i did and i did resist for a long time and had the opportunity for the past 20, 25 years to write one. i finally found a writer that i felt comfortable with and i was able at this time in my life to look back and reflect and look at my career and things that happened over the course of my life through a set of different eyes. >> rose: you also tell it like you saw it with respect to people who were close to you and people who were not necessarily close to you. >> well, it was just the good things. my life wasn't just all good, as much as that might be what you were able to see but i thought i
should write the book that i was t way that i was expected to play tennis and that's the way i wrote it. >> rose: how did you play teis? >> straightforward. with a love and passion that never left me. that was career that for me and a game for me that just fit my personality and really felt nice. >> rose: you hid it flat, didn't you? >> i did. my game for today's activities with all the top spin. i was taught by a woman and given me a woman's game. a very simple, easy style. straight back, straight through. but the footwork and fundamentals were very important to tha game so, you know, it would be very interesting to see just how the kind of game i have that would be held up today. >> rose: and it would be sbooes to see if you -- your passion and athletic ability and what you put into the game. >> yeah, i don't think victim changed i was taught in a way by
my mom and when she handed me over the pancho at a very young age, 15, 16 years old. f, he didn't want to change that. he liked the way i played but he certainly molded more goo into my game and the way i thought with my game but he liked everything that i was able to be at a young age. he said "i don't want to change your game and your attitude and personality and he, of course, you know, was such a character and had great charisma. >> rose: did your mother pick him because of any particular reason? >> they were friends. growing up they played tennis together. my mom was a player and played mixed doubles with pancho. he passed through st. louis one day, my mom and grandmother met him and had a conversation and looked at pancho and i'm standing off to the side and said "hey, i'd like for you to take a look at my son. i think he's got some talent." now i wonder how many parents
have told pancho segura that. but because it was gloria thompson he said "send him out." >> rose: and he changed what? or did he simply add to? >> rose: >> well, he haded to. my game was pretty well mold it had way i played when i was -- have from the very beginning is the way i ended when i stopped but he gave the man's outlook. the mental preparation to go in and play against the great players of the world but he also gave me much more than that. he gave me a lot of life's lessons just by -- his son senser is a good friend of mine. >> rose: a entrepreneur here in new york. >> indeed, yes. so we grew up together so i was kind of taken in by his family so it was just more than just the tennis. >> when you look at president matches you had, is the it one that sticks out for you? >> when i was 17when i played roy emerson at the los angeles tennis club. the reason xwg is that's such a
great player because his legacies and results speak for themselves. that was the first time i felt like keep working, keep doing what you're doing, you can play in the big time. >> rose: and the toughest competitor for you was -- >> well, ili that stassy because we were such good friends. he knew my game better than anybody and was able to take advantage of that. >> rose: it's surprising you two were friends because he's a colorful character and he had a natural game like mac enroe. >> very natural. but we became friends from the very beginning when i was 15. i lost to him in my first tournament and i had to go back to high school and he invited me to dinner and we became friends from that night. i learned a lot from him. some good, some bad. on the court and off the court which was all part of the growing up process but we're still friends today.
>> rose: andre agassi came near this table and basically said to me that he loved the game because i asked a question what was it about tennis? then he later know where his book that he didn't like the game. >> i saw that and it bothers me that you can have the result and be such a great player like andre and not have the passion for it. our attitudes are different, worlds apart. i mean, i went out and loved what i was doing. >> rose: do you any he reay didn't like it? >> it's hard to say. i knew his dad way back during the alan king days when the tournament was in las vegas and his dad loves tennis and it was funny to hear that that andre as a little guy coming out and hitting with some of the best players of that time would have his fame and fortune and really even his wife stephanie, who was
such a great player in her own. >> rose: all that came because of tennis. >> exactly. so it's kind of a strange thing but that's his attitude, not mine. >> rose: are you surprise head and steffi came together? >> i don't see why. i don't see why. >> rose: why you would be surprised or -- >> no, i'm not surprised. why not. >> rose: they both loved tennis. >> sure getting together and finding somebody you're compatible with and able to spend time with and end up with, that's special. >> i asked the question because of you and chrissie which you talk about here. you talk about the relationship, her getting pregnant. did you have any regulation about her disclosing that and do you believe you should have told her? >> well, you know, it's about my life. the story tse s about my life and i look back and the emotions and the painful decisions that were made between the two of us when we discussed it and so
forth. but looking back should i have talked to her? i didn't talk to anybody what i put in the book and was very it was it was put in as an issue. i know everybody's picked up on it but i moved on. there's 400 other pages in the book. >> rose: i know, but in raises an interesting question. should -- if it's private for her not your opinion of something, agassi's game or agassi's life or what you thought about, anyone else she played against. this is someone you had a deep an emotional relationship and you disclose something she didn't want you to express because she says "in his book jimmy connors breaux about a time in our relationship that was personal, painful and i'm disappointed that he used the book to misrepresent a private matter that took place 40 years ago and made it public without my knowledge.
i hope anyone can understand i have that no further comment." >> i can understand the way she feels, charlie. and maybe it would have been the right thing to do to tell her what was in the book but i didn't. sfchl and the way it turned out is about my life and i wasn't afraid to talk about the things that have happened in my past that were very otiol and painful for me. >> rose: you talk about your own infidelity. >> and very easy to put only good things in there. >> rose: did you tell us everything? was that the rule here? i'm jimmy connors and you know how i come at life, i come straight at it as hard as i can and once i'm in i'm all in and i'll tell you everything. >> i think that' what the people came to expect from me on the court so anything else would have been unacceptable, i think. and like i said, it's been easy to talk about the good things that happen but i'm 60. i have the scars to prove it inside and out.
>> rose: what scars do you have? >> i've got the physical scars and the emotional and mental. you see everything that happened when i raised the trophy and the u.s. open trophies and the wimbledon. but there's a lot more that goes into that >> help us understand that, that's important to understand. >> it is important to understand. the sacrifice and the giving up everything and putting your whole life's blood into trying to be what you want to become and what happens along the way as you're trying to become that and the detours that are put in your way that you can take and -- but we're trying to keep your mind on your business but trying to liv life at the same time you'd think that tennis would be enough for me that i gotlymy thrill from tennis but somewhere along the line it wasn't enough and i needed more and i fell
into a few traps. >> rose: tell me what you mean that. what trap? >> well, i fell into the trap of getting involved in other things >> you had a gambling problem. >> i did. i always had a little extra two seconds of something and tennis should have been enough because i was getting my fill from that but a lot happened when i stopped playing the tour and five or six hours a day trying to fill that up because that's what's tennis had taken up was a difficult thing. >> what's interesting for me is that most of us have an insight into it. moesz people don't understand what it takes to be number one in professional sports, whatever it is. you know, it's that you're good. to get there, the sacrifice you
have to make, this is not about -- this is 24/7. and people want it so badly because they know the feeling of those that have it and they want it. >> rose: >> but it's worth it. all of that is worth it. >> rose: tell us why. >> i wasn't thrown into tennis. tennis was given to me to almost get me off the streets and to give me something to work at. there was no money in tennis when i came up and it was to maybe get a college education and become good at something. my mom taught lessons to so maybe i could do that someday and all of a sudden i' thrown into such an opportunity, open tennis comes in in 1968 and i'm 16, 17 years old and i'm kind of almost going into my own and i have an opportunity so things changed in a hurry. but when i went to california i knew that there were going to be
side tracks. coming from east st. louis, illinois, to beverly hills, california and everything that was out there that became available to me. but i also understood that my mom invested a lot of time and a lot of effor into getting know a certain point and if i was going to further that point i couldn't blow it. there was always in the back of my head and in my mind that i'm out here far reason. i was lucky enough that pafrj cho segura accepted me and he was giving him -- all of him to me at the same time so i couldn't blow it. >> i once said to you-- and you quickly reprimanded me, do you remember that? i said think about -- you had a good serve. you said, charlie, for god's sakes, i won grand slam events. >> but it wouldn't have been any fun if i had a big serve. is i had to work swl along the line. all guys, all players on both sides men and women have something that's not up to par.
that they have to learn to work around. if there was a perfect player you'd never be losing. what i had to do was i had to figure out what was right to me, how good i was and what was going to take me to that level and then work around what wasn't so strong. my serve wasn't the strongest part of my me. it was sufficient. >> rose: you and mcenroe friends? >> we're better than we were when we were trying to win wimbledons and u.s. opens. >> rose: can you like somebody and beat them the way you ought to beat them? >> it was very hard for me. >> you almost had to say "i'm taking you down"? >> that was my attitude and the way it fete about it. it didn't matter if i liked you or i didn't. but we had something special, charlie, and we had a valry that in my heart meant
something. >> rose: what did it mean? >> well, everything. we were so alike in a lot of ways and i always wanted to know -- >> rose: brash and caulky. >> left-handed. from the u.s., same attitude, his strengths versus my strengs, serve and volley versus my return. so i always wanted to know what it was like to play myself. well, i got a quick dose of that which was -- you know, which was great. so i knew when i played him first in the semifinals in '78 i think it was that he was going to be around for a long time. >> rose: you did not win a grand slam after age 26. >> it kind of surprises me because, you know, in 1984 in the finals of wimbledon i was -- and i don't like saying this, he took me apart pret pretty quickly in the finals of wimbledon and i thought he was going to be around for a while butty think there was a classic case of other things creeping into your life. >> he loved life.
>> nothing wrong that. there's nothing wrong with that. i always thought better if i'm going to be a tennis pro and earn my living playing tennis and that i needed to do whatever it took to go out there and be able to perform. >> rose: so when you -- there was mcenroe then there was borg. >> well, bjorn was a mystery to me. and i loved it. loved playing it but i hit him with my best material and could not get a smile. and i'd look over there and say "come on, bjorn, give me something." are you sweating? as much fun as he was to play i knew i had to be great to beat him. and just like when i played mac and lendl and a lot of the guys. but some kind of feedback from bjorn would be great. >> rose: vitas was your friend. >> he was. he was my great friend and i know that he had other friends.
mac was a good friend, borg. and they had a great relationship also. i was close to vie it is a in a different way and that way was that i had a family and vitas was close to my kids, was crazy about my wife and we had fun and did a lot of things. different a different way to him because he was vitas and what he went through in his days and so forth. but to me testifies such a great inspiration and the reason being is because he was able to fight through something that was really taking him down. >> rose: drugs. >> yes. and he fought that to a position that he loved golf, golf became his new addiction. he was working hard at that. >> rose: it can happen. >> it can, very much so then he brdcasting career and when that happened it broke my heart.
>> rose: anybody who knew him -- >> special. >> rose: and you knew him well are you sorry you didn't have a great broadcasting career? >> why, is it over? (laugh i don't know. >> rose: i don't know. but i mean just -- the ghost entered with mcenroe. >> i started in 1990 when i blew my wrist out and i started at nbc and did wimbledon and the french and had a great time for two years worked with dick enberg. then i got back into tennis. i was able to start playing again after the regular tour went into a senior tour and did th until i was '49 and got away from tennis for personal family priorities and then went back and did work for bbc and some work for the tennis
channel. would i like to get back into it? sure. >> rose: which leads to this question before i get to the last question. it is the adulation. especially you in new york. this was you in your town and the u.s. open was your nature. is it hard to give that up? >> oh, it's the worst. (laughs) and i think a lot of things that happened to me when i walked a way from tennis was because of that. once i walked pay way -- >> rose: missed all of that. >> performing in front of -- >> rose: you miss this? >> i do miss that. sy lost that forum to perform and the missing of the adulation and so forth it's tough to walk away from. is. >> rose: i would think that would be the toughest to goo b good ating? which there is when you're
relatively young it's over. as an athlete. i mean, to be center stage, tennis or boxing or -- where it's so intense, everybody can see it. center stage, 18th hole of the masters. the. >> but there's no forum like it. you can hear every calibration of everything that's going through your -- >> rose: >> just waiting for the next tournament. the and i think because of that, losing that i had to find a we to replace that and it just wasn't there. never, ever be there. >> how much of your success was about will? i mean, obviously a lot is about talent but how much of it is the mental go get 'em jimmy?me. even plays good tennis but it's
what you bring over and above that that i think was very important. especially in my game. to go out with the understanding that i could stay there all day. maybe you don't want to but i'll be here at 2:00 in the morning, it would never bother me. i have nothing else to do so let's get to it. >> rose: that's exactly right. winning. and however good he is and whatever a great life he has, he may have it but if he doesn't have it, it's hard for one person to give it tonother rson. it's difficult but when i was with andy it was such a pleasure to work with him. >> rose: he had talent. >> he did and i look back over his career and i see how unlucky he was not to win more grand slams and -- >> rose: he could have beat opinion roger.
>> he could have. but when you're at wimbledon and it was 18-16 and such a great match and so -- but when you're playg oroaching a champion in a grand slam winner you're not trying to reconstruct youshgt ear trying to tinker to make them better sometimes i can be tough. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> loved it. >> rose: jimmy connors, the outsider. the great sports writer says this about it "jimmy connors changed everything in tennis. read all about it." thank you again. >> do both of these things we've be talng about today-- music on the one hand and some commitment to make a better world-- do they feed each other? >> if music played a role for me it's probably as a kid look looking out my window and
listening to music, having bob dylan or john lennon or bob marley whispering words of dissent and encouragement into my ear. i at i got from their music was a simple idea that the world outside the window was not fixed and that it was more malleable than everyone else telling you. we're telling you that the world can be changed and that you must change too and i got this from these songs and when we try to demonstrate it, sometimes people say "oh, you know, they played imagine." that's the only john lennon song i don't like. i say, no, i just don't like --
i loved so many things about john lennon. he wrote the blueprint, but "imagine" was wasn't of them. i'm more of a doing, more of an actions, more of a building and dreaming to me is a thing of the '60s. doing a thing that we have to be a part of now.